Knowing one’s self is an essential starter for personal branding. The success and failure of most people have been closely linked to how they become aware of their capabilities and potentials.
Most of us however hardly find time to identify our capabilities and develop our potentials resulting in loss of self-confidence, failures and frustrations in life. In the bid to build a strong unique selling persona and image, it is important for you to identity yourself (self-awareness) cultivate positive thinking, develop your abilities and talents, set and accomplish goals and recognize personal values.
It is sad some people are not prepared to face the truth about themselves, and pretend to be what they are not. I am sure you ever met people who may want to show off that they come from rich homes; others may speak locally acquired foreign ascents, or act and dress like celebrities when they are not and cannot live up to it financially and charismatically. This is a portrayal of a false self-identity or image. These people are mostly people with low self-esteem, lack self-confidence, failed to discover their individual capabilities and are very much bent on covering this up by making people perceive them differently for their own personality.
“Consumers know how to ‘connect’ with a brand that has character, they know what it stands for and they also know what it’s not trying to be.”
Mark Kingsbury, Research International
The idea, perception and knowledge that you hold to be true about yourself consisting of a combination of values, beliefs thoughts, abilities and feelings is termed self-concept. Even though we are born without knowledge about ourselves it is vital to always strive to learn and understand ourselves and other people around us better. Knowing your self is not an event but a process. The concept develops throughout our lifetime starting from childhood, improving through everyday life experience and relations with other people we meet in our homes, communities, schools, and workplaces.
- Components of the self-concept
To further explain and arrive at a good understanding of this concept let’s look at some core components of the self-concept.
– Physical self
This is how you see yourself, it is how you think or know you look like. For instance you may be short, tall, fat, slim, fair or dark in complexion, white or black, physically built etc. This forms the bases for describing you. We describe people with some of the following expressions; James is a tall, physically built man. He has big, brown eyes. His Dark colored skin is very attractive.
At a glance one can form a perception of your personality. These perceptions can portray you as weak, or strong, healthy or sick etc. it is therefore important to have a critical assessment of your physical self and work on creating a positive impression in the minds of anyone who comes into contact with you.
– Psychological self
This is the kind of person you think you are in your subconscious mind. This however is built on an individual orientation and therefore comes from your own thinking. For instance you may perceive yourself as intelligent, stupid, a good or a bad person etc.
In other to build a strong unique selling persona and image, it is very important to cultivate a positive psychological self.
– Social self
Society plays an important role in determining who you will perceive yourself to be. Your social self is what you think other people, such as family, friends, subordinates and superiors think of you. For example you may ask people if they think you are beautiful or handsome, if you have a good sense of humor.
– The ideal self
This is future oriented. It comes in a form of a dream of who you would like to be, consisting your aspirations, desires, and ambitions. The ideal self is however not static, it evolves as we grow. For instance what you aspire for as a child might be different from your aspirations as you grow into adulthood.
– The real self
This is the natural reality in the presence. It is a description of who you really are right now. The real self is the genuine, natural, undiluted and honest aspect of your identity that distinguishes you from others. This is the ultimate in knowing yourself. In the bid to establish a personality that is valued by yourself and others, your real self is a must to recognize.
There are many ways to examine the self-concept. Two of the most widely used terms are self-image and self-esteem.
Self-image is how you see yourself or you think others see you physically or perceptually. It is the personal view or mental picture you have of yourself.
The self-image can be very positive or negative. With a positive self-image you become aware of your abilities and potentials whiles being realistic about your limitations. This gives a person confidence in his thoughts and actions.
A negative self-image focuses on your faults and weaknesses, making you feel uncertain of your capabilities, beliefs and actions. This is because how one feels and thinks about oneself affects the way one acts.
– Importance of self-image
Developing a positive self-image is important because how you think about yourself may affect how you feel about yourself which in turn affect your relationship with others. A positive self-image also affects your physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
“I’ve always thought that a name says a lot about a person. So naturally, being named Howard, I always wanted to crawl into a hole.”
Here are some Tips and Tricks
How to Improve Your Self Image
Improving your self-image is important and like improving any skill, it takes time and practice. You can make use of the following tips and tricks to improve your self-image.
– List some of the things you like about yourself. This may include appearance and skills etc.
– Change negative feelings and thoughts of yourself by focusing on the positive ones.
– Ignore the negative descriptions made about you in school, at home and by friend.
– Remember the things people say about you and note them down.
– Examine whether opinions about you are truthful.
– Make any changes if you think they will help you. For example you can change your cloths and behavior.
– Accept things about yourself that true and learn to think about them in a positive way.
– Accept criticism in a positive way so that you can improve and develop them.
- self esteem
Another major component of the self-concept is self-esteem which generally refers to how you value, like, accept and respects yourself. Self-esteem is different from self-image. It is based on how you see your capabilities and worth as a human being. It is believed that everything you feel, think and do is influenced by how you value and respect yourself. This in turns affects how you relate to others.
Self-esteem therefore emanates from
– your value as a person
– your achievements
– how you think others see you
– your potential for success
– your strengths and weaknesses
– how you relate to others
– Your ability to stand on your own feet etc.
However, these values and feelings about you may be positive, negative or mixed. The more positive they are, the higher your self-esteem. On the other hand, the more negative these feelings and values are, the lower your self-esteem.
Your self-esteem develops throughout your lifetime. As you grow up, your successes and failures in additions to how you will be treated by your family, teachers and peers may contribute to the creation of the initial self-esteem.
For example if your family always compares you to others and is never satisfied with whatever you do at home, in school or at work, then your self-esteem may be negatively affected. Similarly, people who grow up in fault finding families, communities and work places where achievements are not praised, rather faults are given more importance would most likely have low self-esteem.
- High self-esteem.
This therefore can be defined as the true honest and positive view of one’s self. Having high self-esteem means you have a high value and respect for yourself and it is most often the reason why other people respect you. If you can say; ‘I like just the way I am. I’d rather be me than anybody else on earth’ you can be rest assured that your self-esteem is high and positive.
Meditate on this
– Do you have a genuine appreciation of what you can do?
– Do you have an honest respect for your own abilities, potentials and values?
– Do you know your strengths and trust in them?
– Do you accept your limitations and understand that they can be overcome?
– Do you have a strong sense of who you are?